Planning Rules for Domestic Outbuildings

Want to build a garage or garden office but are unsure about the planning rules for domestic outbuildings? Were are here to help!

Are you looking to build an outbuilding to utilise space within your garden? Not sure whether it requires planning permission?

Whether you’re looking to build that garage or garden office for much-needed extra space, we’re here to explain the planning rules of domestic outbuildings.

What is a Domestic Outbuilding in Planning Terms?

A domestic outbuilding is used for a purpose that is incidental to the enjoyment of a dwellinghouse. 

This applies to certain structures, including, but not limited to, sheds, garages, swimming pools, home gyms, greenhouses, garden offices and buildings for animals for the domestic needs or personal enjoyment of the occupants of a house.

Do I Need Planning Permission for a Domestic Outbuilding?

Certain works can be undertaken without the need to apply for planning permission, using ‘permitted development rights’ as detailed in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development)(England) Order 2015 (GPDO), as amended. These rights cover domestic outbuildings; Schedule 2, Part 1, Class E of the GPDO permits ‘buildings etc. incidental to the enjoyment of a dwellinghouse’, providing they meet certain conditions and limitations as laid out by the regulations. Note that the rights under Part 1 of the GPDO only apply to houses, not flats, maisonettes or other buildings. 

These rights may be restricted where you live, so planning permission may be required. For example, there are stricter rules if your house is located within a ‘designated area’, which include:

  • Conservation Areas
  • National Parks 
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • World Heritage Sites  
  • the Broads 

Also, permission would be required if your property is a listed building or your local planning authority has removed permitted development rights through an Article 4 Direction. 

How Big Can an Outbuilding be through Permitted Development?

For a domestic outbuilding to meet the parameters of Schedule 2, Part 1, Class E of the GPDO, the building must be incidental to the main dwelling. Therefore, when determining if it is arbitrary, the size of the building relative to the main home is a factor.  

Secondly, Class E of the GPDO sets out that any building must meet the following criteria:

  • Not be located forward of a wall forming the principal elevation. (i.e. not in front of your house)
  • Be single storey
  • Have a maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres
  • Have a maximum overall height of 4 metres with a dual-pitched roof or 3 metres for any other roof
  • If within 2 metres of a boundary, then it must have a maximum height of 2.5 metres
  • It can have no verandas, balconies or raised platforms
  • It can cover no more than half the area of land around the ‘original house.’

Additional limitations apply to buildings in a ‘designated area’.

In some cases, although planning permission is not required, you may need to contact your local planning authority before any work commences. This could include when there is a ‘neighbour consultation scheme’, or your local authority has a Community Infrastructure Levy in place. 

This is not an exhaustive list, and permitted development rights are subject to change. We would be happy to discuss and clarify whether planning permission is required for your project. 

Please get in touch today.

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